Global biopharmaceutical company AbbVie has released results from a Phase 2 trial of a combination of its products of ibrutinib (Imbruvica) and rituximab as a therapy for follicular lymphoma (FL).
FL is a slow-growing form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that forms when lymphoctyes, a type of white blood cell, develop in the bone marrow. The average age at diagnosis is 60, and average survival time is as much as 14 years.
Study data showed the combination was well-tolerated and posted an overall response rate of 82 percent.
The study's lead investigator was Nathan Fowler of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Imbruvica has been developed by researchers from Pharmacyclics LLC, an AbbVie company and Janssen Biotech Inc.
"The results of this study are very encouraging, as ibrutinib in combination with rituximab demonstrated efficacy in treatment-naive patients with follicular lymphoma," Fowler said. "There are patients who may not be good candidates for chemoimmunotherapy, therefore it is vital we have additional treatment options for previously untreated patients with follicular lymphoma."
The study included 60 patients with confirmed FL who were unaware they were receiving treatment. They were treated once a day with oral ibrutinib and intravenous rituximab once weekly for four doses for the first four weeks of the study.
"Follicular lymphoma is a disease that continues to need additional treatment options for patients,"
Darrin Beaupre, head of early development and immunotherapy at Pharmacyclics, said. "We will continue exploring the potential of ibrutinib as a front-line combination therapy for patients in need. We are currently studying ibrutinib as a single agent and in combination with established therapies as a potential treatment option for a wide range of hematologic malignancies, including follicular lymphoma."
Imbruvica was one of the first medicines to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration after being granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation.
Study of follicular lymphoma combination therapy shows promise
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